DAN Cruickshank described the destruction of the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) as ‘appalling’.

It is a location close to his heart as his true passion is history and architecture.

In order to discover what had happened to this historic site during the three years it was under the control of Islamic State, Dan journeyed to Syria to visit Palmyra, the Unesco listed, ancient desert city.

During the Syrian Civil War in 2015, Palmyra came under the control of ISIL and they destroyed buildings and artifacts and in the process destroyed a large amount of ancient history which cannot be replaced.

Archaeological finds at the location date back to the Neolithic period, and documents first mention the city in the early second millennium BC.

He holds a BA in Art, Design and Architecture and has presented a number of television programmes such as One Foot in the Past, Around the World in 80 Treasures, Timewatch, Dan Cruickshank’s Adventures in Architecture and Dan Cruickshank: At Home With The British.

Dan will be at the Brewhouse Theatre in Taunton on Saturday, September 15.

He will discussing his visit to Palmyra which he described as : “It is appalling. I had been there before. Seeing what had happened was emotionally very disturbing.

“Islamic State wanted to destroy every pagan image but ended up destroying more.

“Human beings were also killed, 400 to be exact and others feld, ran away or became refugees.”

He agrees the destruction of Palmyra by ISIL is akin to the Nazi’s burning books as it strikes at the heart of creation as they kill part of the soul of humanity by destroying what was created.

He added: “I could not have put it better.

“The attacks were political and meant to be shocking for propaganda purposes.

“This was the destruction of buildings.

“In Warsaw the rebuilt after the Second World War as they did not want the Nazi to have the final word in the destruction of the city.”

He hopes any restoration should be handled with great sensitivity.

Dan feels when thinking about the question about Palmyra it raises questions on our doorsteps.

He said: “We live in a marvellous land which sensation towns and villages. “There is a lot of which is over whelming things which people can enjoy.

“I enjoy Taunton and know it quite well.

“So when I go to places I like to look at the poetry of the buildings and see the incredible inventiveness of architecture. It makes people think about what is important to them and what they want to keep.

“Each town or city has things which are special to them and we do not want to see destroyed.”

One location which Dan spent days getting to was his journey to the Minaret of Jam which is in Afghanistan.

It is located in a remote and nearly inaccessible region of the Shahrak District, Ghor Province.

The Minaret of Jam belongs to a group of around 60 minarets and towers built between the 11th and the 13th centuries in Central Asia, Iran and Afghanistan.

Talking about it, Dan said: “It was emotional to go there and highly rewarding. It was a very positive experience as the Minaret was only discovered in the 1950s as it is in an inaccessible location. It is an amazing place and you do get a sense of wonder when you go there.

“It is in a beautiful location and is 60 metres tall. It is humanity as its best.”

Dan went there is a large convoy and even the Afghans who went with him had never been there and they were amazed.

You can catch up with Dan next month when the BBC 4 presenter comes to Taunton to give his talk.

Dan Cruickshank: The Road to Palmyra starts at 7.30pm at The Brewhouse on September 15.

Tickets for the show cost £13.

These can be bought either online at thebrewhouse.net or by calling the Brewhouse box office on 01823 283244.

After the talk, Dan will take questions from the audience and he will be available to sign books.